American politics (political science)

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American politics (or American government) is a field of study within the academic discipline of political science. It is primarily, but not exclusively, studied by researchers in the United States. Along with comparative politics, international relations, and political theory, it is one of the major fields of political science that are studied in American academic institutions.[1][2]

Political scientists studying American politics are sometimes referred to within the discipline as "Americanists".[3][4] The field is conventionally divided into the sub-fields of political behavior and political institutions.[5] It also consists of other major sub-fields, such as American political development (APD), which do not fit neatly into either category.

Research areas within the American political behavior sub-field include voting behavior, public opinion, partisanship, and the politics of race, gender, and ethnicity.[6] Questions within the study of American political institutions include the legislative behavior and United States Congress, the presidency, courts and the legal process, bureaucracy, public law, state and local politics, and foreign policy.[6] Scholars in American political development focus on determining how American politics has changed over time and what factors (institutional and behavioral) led to these changes.[7] Public policy is also widely studied by Americanists.[8][9][10]

In universities outside of the United States, American Politics generally refers to a course in comparative politics or a survey course in American domestics politics for International Relations within political science.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Should American Politics Be Abolished (as a Field)?". Retrieved 2024-02-20.
  2. ^ "What is Political Science? | Department of Political Science | University of Washington". Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  3. ^ "Americanists and political economy - The Monkey Cage". The Monkey Cage. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  4. ^ Bird, Stephen; Yesnowitz, Joshua C. (2008). "Choosing the One for 101: A Review of Primary Textbooks for Introductory Political Science Survey Courses". Journal of Political Science Education. 4 (2): 253–259. doi:10.1080/15512160801998171. S2CID 143771800.
  5. ^ University, Princeton. "American Politics - Department of Politics at Princeton University". Retrieved 2016-06-16.
  6. ^ a b Denver, University of. "American Politics | Sub-fields | Areas of Study | Political Science Department | University of Denver". Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  7. ^ John, Richard R. (2014-08-04). Valelly, Richard; Mettler, Suzanne; Lieberman, Robert (eds.). "American Political Development and Political History". The Oxford Handbook of American Political Development. 1. doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199697915.013.12. ISBN 978-0-19-969791-5.
  8. ^ "Public Policy Studies - Department of Political Science". Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  9. ^ "Political Science and Public Policy". Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  10. ^ "Public Policy » Department of Political Science | Boston University". Retrieved 2016-06-24.